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Bridging The Gap VA Family

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Nestor Blokhin
Nestor Blokhin

Angela's Ashes

While the family were there, they also scattered some of his ashes from Carrigogunnell Castle which overlooks the River Shannon, so that a part of him would always remain in the city he once called home.

Angela's Ashes

The ashes of controversy were fanned into flames when Alan Parker decided to film Frank McCourt's grim, poverty-ridden autobiography on the actual locations of the book in Limerick, in the west of Ireland.

Another area in which McCourt seems to use elements of fiction to his advantage is with his title. Often the title of a nonfiction work is functional and provides simply the topic of the work. In fiction, an author often achieves extra effect from the title choice. For example, Steinbeck used East of Eden toprepare readers for a vast Biblical metaphor. McCourt does not directly explain the source of his title, but one can make a reasonable guess. Frank's life was colored by his family's Catholicism, and his title hints at the ashes associated with Ash Wednesday and the self-denial and sacrifice that begin on the first day of the Lenten season. Additionally, the title brings to mind the "ashes to ashes and dust to dust" verses in the Old Testament of the Bible and could be meant to indicate the futility of trying to change the quality of life since eventually everything returns to its original state. Most probably the title points to the mythical phoenix and what ultimately became Frank McCourt's rise from the ruins, or ashes, of his mother's life. When Frank leaves Ireland for America, fortune has finally smiled on him, but fortune has not cast a smile upon Angela beyond what her son provides.

So just who was the real Frank McCourt? Did he win the Pulitzer Prize with his lyrical, poignant memoir under false pretences? Or was he indeed the ultimate rags-to-riches story, who survived the grinding poverty of Limerick's slums to rise like a phoenix from the ashes, triumphant? 041b061a72


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